Under the radar: Using weather stations to study Kilauea’s Dec. 20, 2020, plume

The Dec. 20, 2020, Kilauea volcanic plume shown from the Gemini Observatory on Maunakea (left) and a 3D radar visualization from the same perspective. The radar reflectivity isosurfaces reveal the plume’s internal and external structure. (Gemini Observatory/Public domain.)

This week marks the second anniversary of the appearance of water in Kilauea’s Halema‘uma‘u crater, so it seems timely to discuss the water lake’s demise last Dec. 20, or rather, its transformation into a volcanic plume and how we use weather radar to investigate how that happened.